Dam­aged Bug’s odd sur­re­al­ism

Los Angeles Times - - F8 - RANDALL ROBERTS POP MU­SIC CRITIC and Run the Jew­els. Call it what you want: an in­cite­ment, a mis­sive, a tirade, a lyri­cal op-ed. The poet and rap­per Saul randall.roberts@la­times.com

Dam­aged Bug

“Cold Hot Plumbs”


Had the late Pink Floyd gui­tarist Syd Bar­rett lost his mind in the data age in­stead of the psy­che­delic ’60s, he might have made a record as cu­ri­ously sur­real as “Cold Hot Plumbs,” the sec­ond al­bum from Los An­ge­les-based artist Dam­aged Bug.

The solo moniker of singer, gui­tarist and vis­ual artist John Dwyer, best known for be­ing the fran­tic singer-gui­tarist for Thee Oh Sees, Dam­aged Bug’s aptly ti­tled “Cold Hot Plumbs” is a mess of tripped-out con­fu­sion. It’s bed­room psychedelia of the high­est or­der, fea­tur­ing in­sis­tent beats, strange synth squig­gles and Dwyers sweet but strange voice.


“Run­ning from Sane”

(Adult Swim)

Dawn Richard is still best known for her work as a for­mer mem­ber of the MTV-fa­mous quin­tet Dan­ity Kane, but over the last few years the singer has re­leased a se­ries of spell­bind­ing tracks. Us­ing pitch-bend­ing tech­nol­ogy that al­lows her to stretch her voice down to a male tenor or up to her nat­u­ral fe­male so­prano, Dawn on “Run­ning from Sane” seems to tran­scend gen­der while rid­ing a buoy­ant rhythm.

The track is a free down­load cour­tesy of Adult Swim and the first of a se­ries of 19 tracks by 19 mu­si­cal in­no­va­tors. New mu­sic will ar­rive weekly through Oc­to­ber from arists in­clud­ing Cherry Glaz­err, Yung Lean, the Chro­mat­ics, Slayer

Saul Wil­liams

“Bu­rundi (feat. Emily Kokal)”


Wil­liams likely doesn’t care; he’s been busy work­ing. The re­sult is his fifth al­bum, “Martyr Loser King,” the first track of which is a sonic ex­plo­sion. With a stated goal to “skim global is­sues, throw them into my drum ma­chine and see what polyrhythms formed,” Wil­liams on “Bu­rundi wres­tles with re­cent global un­rest while re­lent­less polyrhythms sur­round him. The track fea­tures the mes­mer­iz­ing voice of Warpaint’s Emily Kokal, who har­mo­nizes in the back­ground while Wil­liams loops on the phrase “I’m a can­dle!” It bodes well for “Martyr Loser King,” due to ar­rive in Septem­ber.

Red­ferns / Getty Images

JOHN DWYER, a.k.a. Dam­aged Bug, plumbs psychedelia.

Ge­ordie Wood Fader


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